The Cities of Eternal Fog
Prerequisites: Varies (see below)
Effects: Your character has standing, credentials, authority or respect within an organization, group, company or social body. He might have an official position or title, or might simply be revered and honored within the group and therefore accorded a degree of authority. Your character might be a company vice president, a police sergeant or lieutenant, an army corporal or a nurse at a hospital. Or he could be a lowly member of the group whom everyone likes or who has won some acclaim and is allowed more standing than he is officially entitled.
Each acquisition of this Merit is dedicated to one type of authority, whether in an organization, society or circle. Examples include police, City Hall, criminals, unions, banks, a university faculty and hospital staff. In order to have authority in more than one venue, you need to purchase this Merit multiple times, each trait with its own dots. Thus, your character might have Status (Police) ¥¥, Status (Crimi nals) ¥¥¥ and Status (City Hall) ¥, each acquired separately at character creation or during play. You would need to explain how he reconciles all this authority in the setting. The aforementioned character might be a dirty police sergeant who has paid his dues in civil elections and gained some recognition among city officials.
Status represents the privileges and liberties that your character is authorized to take within the confines and definitions of his group. Increasing dots reflect increasing clout. A cop with Status 1 can enter the suspect lockup and interrogation rooms, while a cop with Status 4 can enter the evidence locker without supervision or get involved in a crimescene investigation without specifically being called in.
The phrase Òwithin the confines and definitions of his groupÓ is emphasized above because Status operates exclusively through official channels. A surgeon might have one patient seen or operated on before another, because thatÕs within the official confines of his authority. Exceeding the confines of authority or proper channels transcends the limits of the Status Merit. Going above and beyond Ñ to ask for favors rather than give orders or to requisition an official requestÑ enters the realm of the Allies Merit. So, a police detective who gets a lower-ranking officer to investigate a case may do so with Status. That request is conducted through proper channels. Meanwhile, a police detective who asks another officer to overlook some evidence or to delay an investigation does so with Allies. The favor is asked outside official channels.
While Status might allow your character to give orders to underlings, the Merit doesnÕt automatically get results. Subordinates or co-workers might resent their assignments, dislike your character or have personal agendas that interfere with your characterÕs needs. Efforts to get things done through official channels still call for Manipulation + Intimidation, Persuasion or Socialize rolls, whichever Skill is appropriate to the request, circumstances and your characterÕs standing within the organization. Bonus dice equal your characterÕs Status dots. Penalties might apply if your character browbeats someone (- 1), uses threats (-2), skirts the limits of his authority (-2) or exceeds his authority (-3 to -5).
Some sample organizations and the basic benefits, perks and privileges of standing in them are listed below.
City Police: A patrol officer has legal powers of search, seizure and arrest, is permitted to carry a firearm at all times and has access to a wide range of local databases. High-ranking officers (¥¥¥+) can initiate investigations, coordinate with neighboring county or state police, and call in urban-assault teams.
Clerical Standing: Your character is a licensed minister, gaining access to people and places such as accused criminals, hospital patients, crime and accident scenes, and restricted areas in religious institutions. Prerequisite: Academics Skill Specialty: Religion.
Corporate Executive: A low-level corporate executive has access to much of the companyÕs resources, including corporate credit cards, vehicles, cell phones and computer equipment. Depending on the company, he can also access sources of information and influence not available to the general public. Executives (¥¥¥+) have larger salaries, expense accounts, and hiring and firing powers, not to mention social perks and access to connected political figures and/or celebrities.
Diplomat: Your character is a registered diplomat for a sovereign country. If he works in a foreign country he has free lodging, access to his countryÕs embassy and immunity from foreign criminal prosecution. Prerequisites: Politics ¥¥ and Persuasion ¥¥.
Licensed Professional: Your character is licensed in a recognized profession that affords him privileges unavailable to most civilians. He might be a private investigator and authorized to carry a concealed weapon and to have access to restricted databases and government files, or he could be a building contractor and be authorized to own and use explosives for professional applications. Prerequisite: Academics Skill Specialty: Law (private investigator), Science Skill Specialty: Demolitions (building contractor).
Medical: Your character is licensed to practice medicine. He can write prescriptions, access medical records and gain access to restricted areas such as crime and accident scenes. Prerequisite: Medicine ¥¥.
Military: An enlisted soldier has a monthly stipend, is permitted to possess military-grade firearms and has access to restricted sources of information and equipment. If he is an active-duty soldier he receives free room and board and medical care. High-ranking soldiers (¥¥¥+) are officers who can command units, requisition military equipment and perhaps even initiate foreign insurgencies.
Rotary Club: A basic member in good standing has access to the local meeting hall and a network of members who can provide club-related information or perform club-related duties. A basic member can also benefit from the organizationÕs emergency fund in times of need. Highranking members (¥¥¥+) have access to other clubs around the country, and have sway over connected civic groups and political figures.
Drawback: Your characterÕs standing in a given organization is dependent on the fulfillment of his duties and on abiding by the regulations required of members.